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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY             275

that thinks not this of more moment to his son than the languages
and learned sciences forgets of how much more use it is to judge
right of men, and manage his affairs wisely with them, than to
speak Greek and Latin or to argue in mood and figure ;   nay,
than to be well versed hi Greek and Roman writers, though that
be much better for a gentleman than to be a good Peripatetic
or Cartesian,  because those ancient writers painted mankind
well, and give the best light into that kind of knowledge."*   But
his objections to the schools do not stop here : he has still another
objection, this time to their methods.   In this connection a passage
in which he condemns the excessive corporal punishment which
had become a tradition in the grammar schools may first be
noted.    " Beating," he asserts, " is the worst, and therefore,
the kst means to be used in the correction of children." t   To
the contention that " there are many who will never apply them-
selves to their books unless they are scourged to it," he makes
a weighty answer:   " This, I fear, is nothing but the language
of ordinary schools and fashion, which have never suffered the
other to be tried as it should be.   Why else does the learning of
Latin and Greek need the rod, when French and Italian need it
not ?   Children learn to dance and fence without whipping ; nay,
arithmetic, drawing, etc., they apply themselves well enough to
without beating:   which would make one suspect that there is
something strange, unnatural and disagreeable to that age, in the
things required in grammar schools or in the methods used there,
that children cannot be brought to, without the severity of the lash,
and hardly with that too."J   The defect, as he shows in a later
passage, is in the analytical methods used in teaching the languages.
The teacher stops the translation of a passage to ask for the nom-
inative of a noun, or breaks up a word like aufero into its component
parts.   This Locke thinks a great mistake in the case of ordinary
pupils.   It is essential for a man of learning to have a mastery
of the grammar of a language, but not for a child.   " Languages
being to be learned by rote, custom and memory, are then
spoken hi greatest perfection when all rules of grammar are
utterly forgotten-"   " I know not* why anyone should waste his
time  and beat his head about the Latin grammar, who does
not intend to be a critic, or make speeches and write dispatches.
in it."||

*  94,               t  S4-                t 5 86'               11  *67